Labor Regulations Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Argentina
Content updated to March 18th, 2020
- Decree 260/2020 – Executive Branch
- Resolution 207/2020 – Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security
- Resolution 21/2020 – Superintendence of Labor Risks
- Resolution 238/2020 – Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security
Decree 260/2020 – Executive Branch
Coronavirus Health Emergency (COVID-19)
On March 12, 2020, Argentine Government issued Decree 260/2020, which establishes that due to the declaration of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), the public health emergency in Argentina is extended for a period of one year as from March 12, 2020.
The Decree establishes that, as of the date of its issuance (March 12, 2020), the areas affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are the European Union Member States, members of the Schengen Area, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Iran. The Ministry of Health will update the information on the affected areas on a daily basis, in accordance with epidemiological developments.
The Decree also establishes a mandatory isolation for 14 days, a period that may be modified by the Ministry of Health, for the following people:
(a) Suspected cases. Individuals who have fever and one or more respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing), and additionally, in the last few days, have traveled to “affected areas” or have been in contact with confirmed or probable cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Ministry of Health may expand this definition.
(b) Confirmed cases. Those who have been confirmed having Coronavirus (COVID-19) by a medical doctor.
(c) Those considered “close contact” of suspected or confirmed cases. The Ministry of Health considers “close contacts” to be those who: i) have provided care to a probable or confirmed case while it was showing symptoms without adequate personal protection measures; ii) have remained within two meters of a probable or confirmed case while it was showing symptoms; iii) have worked in close proximity to a confirmed case; (iv) have shared the same classroom with a confirmed case; (v) have shared an airplane or a bus within a two-seat radius around a confirmed case that has shown symptoms during transportation, including the crew; (vi) have shared a vessel trip with confirmed cases; and (vii) maintained contact for a short period of time and at a distance of less than two meters from a confirmed case.
(d) Those who arrive to Argentina after March 12th 2020 having traveled through affected areas. These people must i) provide information on their journey, ii) state their address in Argentina, and iii) undergo a medical examination to determine the potential risk of contagion and the preventive actions to be taken, which must be complied with, without exception. Foreigners not residing in the country who do not comply with the regulations on compulsory isolation and the health measures in force may not enter or stay in the national territory, except where the health or migration authority so decides.
(e) Those who have arrived to Argentina in the last 14 days prior to March 12th 2020, having traveled through affected areas. Foreigners not residing in the country who do not comply with the regulations on compulsory isolation and health measures in force may not remain in the country, except where the health or migration authority so decides.
The Decree expressly provides that in the event that non-compliance with the isolation measures is verified, the officials, health personnel, personnel in charge of educational establishments and authorities in general who become aware of such a circumstance must file a criminal complaint to investigate the possible commission of the criminal offences provided for in Section 205, 239 and related of the Criminal Code.
Section 205 of the Criminal Code provides that anyone who violates the measures taken by the competent authorities to prevent the introduction or spread of an epidemic shall be punished by imprisonment for six months to two years.
Section 239 of the Criminal Code provides that anyone who resists or disobeys a public official in the legitimate exercise of his duties or the person who assists him at his request or by virtue of a legal obligation shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of 15 days to one year.
The Decree establishes the obligation of the population to immediately report symptoms compatible with COVID-19 to the health authorities, in accordance with the health recommendations of each jurisdiction.
The Decree provides for the temporary suspension of international passenger flights from affected areas for a period of 30 days. The Ministry of Health is empowered to change this period, in accordance with epidemiological developments.
The Decree provides that the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security shall determine the working conditions and leaves to be held by those persons who are required to comply with the mandatory isolation provided for in the Decree, for the period of time that health authority establishes. Special leave regimes may also be established.
Resolution 207/2020 – Ministry of Labor
Extension of the scope of the suspension of duty to attend to workplace due to Coronavirus (COVID-2019) and recommendation for remote working
Resolution 207/2020 of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MTEySS) established that new groups of workers (as well as certain service agreement providers, scholarships in workplaces, internships and medical residents) are included in the suspension of the duty to attend to the workplace, even though being entitled to collect salary in full during such suspension.
Resolution 207/2020 established that the duty to attend to the workplace is suspended to the following people: (i) workers over 60 years of age, unless they are considered “essential personnel for the proper functioning of the establishment”- all workers from the health industry shall be considered essential personnel-; (ii) pregnant workers; and (iii) workers included in the risk groups defined by the health authorities.
The risk groups as of March 16, 2020 are those affected by: a) chronic respiratory diseases: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congenital emphysema, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis and moderate or severe asthma; b) heart diseases: heart failure, coronary disease, valvular diseases and congenital heart diseases; c) immunodeficiency; and d) diabetics, people with chronic renal failure on dialysis or with expectations of entering dialysis in the next six months.
Pregnant workers and workers included in risk groups shall not be declared “essential personnel”.
Resolution 207/2020 provides that those workers included in the suspension of the duty to attend to the workplace, whose habitual or similar tasks can be performed from the place of isolation, shall, in good faith, agree with their employer the terms and conditions under which such work will be performed.
Resolution 207/2020 also provides that, during the term of suspension of school activities established by Resolution No. 108/2020 of the Ministry of Education, it is considered duly justified the absence at work of the parent or responsible adult in charge whose presence at home is essential for the care of the child or adolescent. The employee must notify this circumstance to the employer, justifying the need of its presence at home and providing the employer the necessary information for the employer to exercise the appropriate supervision. Only one parent or responsible person per home shall exercise this exemption.
Finally, Resolution 207/2020 recommends employers to take the necessary measures to reduce the presence of workers in their establishment to those indispensable for the proper functioning of the company or establishment, taking the necessary measures for the implementation of home working.
Resolution 21/2020 – Superintendence of Labor Risks
Reduction of requirements for the application of remote work “home office” under the health emergency provided for by Decree 260/2020.
On March 16, 2020, Superintendence of Labor Risks issued Resolution 21/2020, that establishes that employers who authorize their workers to perform their work from their homes within the framework of the health emergency provided by Decree No. 260/2020, have the duty to report to the Labor Risk Insurance Company (“ART”) to which they were affiliated: (i) the list of affected workers, indicating full name and C.U.I.L. number, and (ii) the home address where the task will be performed and its frequency, indicating the number of working days and hours per week. Likewise, by means of said Resolution it was established that the reported domicile will be considered as a labor area for all purposes of Law No. 24,557 on Labor Risks.
The Resolution also provided that in these exceptional cases it would not be applicable Resolution 1552/2012 of the Superintendence of Labor Risks itself, which defines and determines the conditions for employees working from their homes. This implies that in these exceptional cases, the employers are not obliged to: (i) inform the ART of the tasks to be performed by employees working from home; and (ii) provide to the employees with an ergonomic chair, a portable fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a mouse pad and a Manual of Good Practices on Health and Safety for working remotely.
Resolution 238/2020 – Ministry of Labor
Suspension of most of Union activities
Resolution 238/2020 from the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security established the suspension of all union electoral processes, all types of union assemblies and/or union congresses, both ordinary and extraordinary, as well as all union institutional acts that imply the mobilization, transfer and/or agglomeration of people.
The Resolution provides that this suspension is applicable to all union associations registered in the registry of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security.
Resolution also states that the performance of all other union acts shall be analyzed on a case by case basis by the authority, so as to make compatible the public health reasons that motivate this with the maintenance of the institutional regularity of the entities.
Resolution established that these measures shall be effective as from March 18th, 2020 and for a period of thirty days.
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